Friday Favorites #4: Fall

Fall is in the air! The temperature has dropped drastically here in North Dakota with an average of 50-60 degrees. The leaves are starting to change colors and the sweaters and jeans are on – at least for most of us! Pumpkin everything is showing up in stores and we’re starting to think about what we should be for Halloween! Suggestions, anyone? 🙂

I’m excited for this change of seasons. Fall is one of my favorite seasons for a few reasons! I love the rain and cooler temps – especially the cool nights. I love all the seasonal goods that come out in stores, restaurants and coffee shops. I can’t wait for my run to Trader Joe’s soon for all things fall. Also, I love the fact that we get to celebrate my husband’s birthday in the fall!

With this Saturday, the 22nd of September being the first official day of fall, I thought I would share with you some of my fall favorites.

Pumpkin Bread

Everyone loves a good pumpkin bread, even if they don’t love pumpkin! I’ve never been a fan of pumpkin pie, I always pass at Thanksgiving, but I wouldn’t turn down pumpkin bread!

I love this Low Carb Pumpkin Bread from Maria Emmerich! It’s also dairy free and gluten free. If you need a good pumpkin bread recipe, try this one out! Even though it’s low carb, it’s still filled with great spices and sweetness. IMG_5657

Squash

I love the ability to incorporate a new vegetable into my baking and cooking! My favorite types of squash are spaghetti, butternut and Kabocha. If you are brand new to squash, here’s a great post about the different types of squash and how to use them.

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I’ve recently learned a few things about choosing and cooking spaghetti squash. When choosing spaghetti squash, you want to choose the largest and most yellow one out of the bunch. This one will actually have the most flavor!

As far as cooking goes, the first option is to roast it. This creates a caramelized taste and crispy texture. First, cut the spaghetti squash in half with a large knife. Second, scoop out the seeds and either save them to bake later or place right next to the squash on the baking sheet. Then, drizzle everything with olive oil and salt. Finally, place the pan in the oven at 460 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes.

The second option is microwaving. This is the best option if you’re in a hurry (or if it’s 6:00 and you forgot you wanted to make it). My mother-in-law has perfected this cooking method! First, rinse off the spaghetti squash in the sink. Second, poke holes all around the squash with a knife. Next, place the squash in the microwave and cook on high for 5 minute increments for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the squash). Be careful when it’s done to use a towel or oven mitt to pick it up – it’s very hot! Let it cool for a few minutes and then slice in half with a knife – it should be very easy to slice. Scoop out the seeds and use a fork to extract the “spaghetti”. I love to add plenty of butter and salt to mine!IMG_4002

Chili

I love a good chili recipe! It was the first recipe I learned how to cook with my mom. I still remember being in the kitchen with her and cooking up a chili storm. My favorite way to do chili is to have all the fixings – sour cream, cheddar cheese, crackers/chips, and chopped green onions!

I have come across a few chili recipes that I have absolutely loved in the past few years. One challenge I have had is with my husband’s STRONG desire for me to use the deer he has “won” during his hunting expeditions. Venison has a very distinct taste and smell and it is definitely tricky to cook with. However, it is wild game and therefore has a better nutrient profile than conventional beef – this is the main reason I try to use it in my chili. One trick I have learned is to substitute half of the ground beef for venison. This way, you don’t know if you’re eating venison or beef while you eat the chili and it’s not as distinct of a flavor/smell.

My Favorite Chili Recipes

  1. Cincinatti Chili by Wellness Mama (don’t skip out on the chocolate bar, it might sound weird but it tastes amazing!)Cincinnati-Style-Chili-Copycat-Recipe
  2. Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili by Organize Yourself Skinny (I love all things buffalo chicken!)slowcookerbuffalochickenchili13
  3. BBQ Venison Chili (see below – you can also try subbing all the spices that contribute to the BBQ flavor with 1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce) Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 11.58.24 AM
  4. Simple Chili (see below)Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 11.59.42 AM

That’s it for my fall favorites! Please comment below, I would love to hear about some of your fall favorites!